Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hello! I'm at the Apple store emailing before we go to the temple.

That sure is an exciting subject line if I do say so myself.

Let's see what's new...
I got to skype with the family for Mother's Day! That was legit =)
It's crazy to think that in a few more months I'll see them in 3D. I think that was a crazy thought for the other sister missionaries who were with me because they have been out 1 transfer, 2 transfers, 3 transfers, and then you have me who is at 11 transfers! lol
But I've served my time and it's sad to know it's coming to an end. But I know there is a time and a season for everything.
I'm trying to make the most of these final months as a missionary. I know Heavenly Father has been training me this whole time to be the very best missionary that I can be right here at this time.
The members have been coming out to appointments with us recently and they are so funny! I especially love having the ones around our age come out with us because we always have a great time being spiritual and laughing a lot!
The work wouldn't be the same without them and I appreciate all the effort they make to be available to help us.
The talk I gave on Sunday went really well =) it was a lovely sacrament meeting. The talks were on happiness/motherhood (that one was mine), gratitude, and opportunity. I definitely needed a refresher on all of those topics.  One of my goals right now is to be more grateful. I have so many blessings in my life that I sometimes don't acknowledge or recognize. However, I know Heavenly Father appreciates when we show our appreciation for all the many ways he has blessed us. In addition to recognizing that trials or hardships give us opportunities, opportunities to use our free agency and do our best to face it with faith in Jesus Christ.
There was more I liked about that talk but I don't remember what it was! haha but I remember how I felt! I felt the spirit encouraging me =)

This past week our bishop put together a beautiful mother's day dinner. We helped a little bit with the set up and preparation. It was a little last minute planning wise so we werereally worried no one would show up. We started texting everyone in our phones lol and it actually turned out really nice! It had been raining really hard earlier that day but it was a very nice gathering.
Our investigator Jeff even came with his friend Trevor (who is a member) and Trevor's grandma. It was so exciting to see him there! He really liked it and got to meet a lot of the members. Sister Crawford and I were floating in the clouds knowing that Jeff came. Then he came the following day to church =)  
We also had a lesson with him last night and we discussed the first half of the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, and baptism). The spirit was definitely there and he's going to work toward June 8th for his baptism =)
I love teaching Jeff. He is awesome. Some of the other missionaries said they were jealous that we get to teach Jeff haha. That's just how solid he is as an investigator. He's even coming to the baptism that's happening this Thursday (the elders investigators Jeannie 16 and Joy 14). Then we're meeting again on Friday.

We're going to the temple right after I finish emailing. It's going to be a much needed spiritual boost =)  
I got some wonderful mail from Janice and Jill yesterday and it really lifted me up =) I am grateful for such amazing friends! 

Transfers are in two weeks. That's crazy. I hope things stay pretty much the same in the zone. But I don't know if they will. In fact I feel like a lot might change. Oh well I guess we'll see what the Lord wants and we'll just accordingly.

Well I want all of you to know I love you!  You are amazing individuals and I am grateful to know you so well.  I know the Lord is waiting to draw nearer unto us as we draw nearer unto Him. We just got our General Conference Ensign and I am so excited to feast upon the different talks! I invite you to pick one of the talks to study and apply into your life this week. I know the words of the prophet and members of the quorum of the 12 are inspired for you and for me. I started reading Elder Eyrings talk this morning and I have felt a great sense of peace in my heart as I reflect on his words.  The Lord is reaching out to us in love through the words of His servants.  Are we listening? Are we searching? Are we seeking Him? I hope that this week you will feel that you are doing your best to put Him first. I promise you that as you do you will feel refreshed and the Lord will begin to soothe and heal the wounds of daily mortal life. He has the power and the love to do so.
I pray that you will use your agency in a way that you may take full advantage of the blessings available to you.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our redeemer, Amen.

Sister Emily Johnson

Today is my 15 month mark!

Where does time go?! =) Serving the Lord obviously.
I look forward to writing to you each week. Wednesdays can be very crazy, but also reflective during the 45 minutes to an hour that I have to write. 
It's nice being able to reflect on this marvelous work and wonder that I am experiencing as an instrument in the hand of the Lord.
These final months as I try my hardest to do my very best I have truly felt the Lord doing more with me than I would be able to do by myself. That in itself is a miracle!

Yesterday (Tuesday the 7th) we had Zone Conference and we were spiritually nourished and instructed on how to help our investigators progress in their learning so they will truly be learning. Since our last conference we have been focusing on teaching shorter lessons with the pamphlets. Since then we have been teaching a lot more, but now to help assist us with these lessons we focused on helping those we teach learn and actually understand so they too can feel the spirit working within them! 

Sunday was a really rewarding day! I shared my testimony in sacrament meeting and I felt the spirit take over.  I love when that happens. Then I taught the lesson in Gospel Doctrine because the teacher was out of town. I loved teaching that class because in the preparation for it (lesson 17 about tithing and fast offerings) there was a lot of material that I could read to expand my knowledge. During my mission as I've served in Gospel Principles its focused more on the what, but I really liked reading about the why.  I've been studying other chapters from the manual just for fun. I actually learned a lot about spiritual gifts from lesson 15! It's something I've been trying to understand better for a while now, so it was perfect.
This upcoming Sunday I'm giving a talk in Sacrament meeting about Happiness. I asked the bishop if he would like me to also tie it into Mother's Day. Luckily I just got the idea that I could connect the two by talking about what brings true happiness (living the gospel) and then explain how it was my mom that taught me that! Anyhow I haven't started writing it yet, so it'll take more time and reflection.  I am happy I get to speak about happiness. For those who know me, I'd say I'm a pretty happy person! lol

Well I am short on time. We started emailing at the library today. After we leave here we are going to the church to have a picnic and games. We were going to go to the park but it's been raining today.

I love you very much! I am so humbled by the opportunity to be a missionary and serve the Lord. Please pray that I may be fully invested in the work here.  I am doing pretty good, but I want to continue to finish strong! I know Jesus Christ lives. I know the spirit can teach, inspire, and guide our lives. I know we have a Heavenly Father who loves us very much. I invite you to have a heart to heart with Him today =)

Sister Emily Johnson

May 1st

Hello again! I have to say I always look forward to emailing on Wednesdays! Well more so reading emails, but writing them is good too.  What a week! The weather has warmed up a lot. Despite putting on sunscreen I still manage to get a little pink each day. That's what happens though when you are a Svenskafleka =) Oh well it's always gone by the next day.

Last week, after emailing we went back to our apartment with two of the English sisters and we played games for a few hours. We had a lot of fun playing apples to apples. One of the highlights was the fact that while cleaning a junk missionary closet I found a working type writer!!! It was like finding buried treasure! Literally it was buried under junk haha. It was my prize for cleaning out the closet of abandoned missionary items. I've already typed up a few letters so anyone who writes me on a regular basis has a very high chance of getting a typed letter! Maybe that can be incentive to write me haha. 
When we were playing Apples to Apples Sister Lee (my favorite sister from Taiwan) had to choose a card that was awkward! Out of all the choices we were explaining what each one was. After we had explained all the choices she chose Barney as the best match for awkward. We were all laughing about how Barney could be awkward. Then in her cute Asian voice she said, "Yea, Dinosaurs aren't purple and green!" haha it was a priceless moment =)

Our correlation meetings are getting a lot better. No one argued this last week and we all discussed wanting the ward and the missionaries to work together. We even talked about what we want to include on the ward mission plan. This is a big deal for us! =)
A less active family that we've been working with came to church this week! They are so solid and we need them in our ward. It was great to have them there and for them to be able to partake of the sacrament! Renewing that covenant is so important in us feeling the atonement cleanse us =)
If we live our lives in a way that we are able to partake of the sacrament each week we will always be prepared to meet our maker. Our loving Heavenly Father has provided us the opportunity to renew our covenants every week to help us endure to the end! We can always be ready =)
I also got a blessing of comfort and council from one of the Elders I serve with because there were a few things that were weighing on my mind. Heavenly Father didn't council me in the way I necessarily expected Him to, but He did in a way that was even better. He gave me things to think about and ponder. I know that God's plan for us is perfect. I know He loves us and everything that happens is for the immortality and eternal life of man.

Yesterday was a really good day! We've been pushing ourselves and trying to rely on the Lord to achieve the standard of excellence. It was one of our best days yet! A lot of it had to do with the senior couple being willing to drive us between look ups. Senior couples are the best! Every senior couple should serve a mission =)
Anyways we had a total of 8 lessons! 5 others (not members), 2 less active, 1 active. 2 of the 5 others became new investigators because we were able to set return appointments! It was sweet! 
Well I hope you are feeling the Lord in your life.  If you are not, have you considered getting a priesthood blessing?  The Lord is there. He wants to speak to us, he wants to guide and counsel us. Why can't we hear Him? Do we not want to know the answer? Let us be strong and of good courage and open our hearts to the Lord. He has not put the pavillion there. He will see us through. I know this is the Lord's kingdom on the earth and as we seek His help he will strengthen and protect our families. I love the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. He called His prophet Thomas S. Monson, and the prophet is the reason I am in New York today! As of next week it'll be for 15 months! I love the Lord and I'm thankful for the refining process this has been. I only have three months left to serve in this way and I'm going all out. I invite you to strengthen your commitment to the Lord. Whether by: spending more time in the scriptures, or doing gospel related activities with your family, or going out with the missionaries, or investing my time and attention into your calling. I testify that it is through our families and the gospel of Jesus Christ we will find lasting happiness! I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sister Emily Johnson

p.s. Mother's day is just around the corner! More details on our call home soon = )